30 Sep 20

Opportunities in the New Normal: Fleet LatAm Conference 2020

As we go into the “New Normal”, many companies operating fleets in Latin America and abroad are seeking to adapt themselves accordingly, something that can result in opportunities if you play your cards right.

Key Lessons from the 2020 Fleet LatAm Conference that took place on 29 and 30 September:

  • Safety is the top priority for corporate fleet managers in Latin America, something COVID-19 has only confirmed and even accelerated
  • Telematics and connectivity make it possible to analyse vehicle and driver data, helping to improve a fleet's safety programme. This leads to improved fleet efficiency, a decrease in accidents and even lower CO2 emissions.
  • More than half of all participants believe electrification will become a priority in the near future in Latam. Latin America is not yet at the same level as some other regions but awareness about electrification is growing. Connected technology can help determine what driver profiles are most suited to transition to an EV.
  • In a complex fleet and mobility market place like Latin America, it is essential to find the right partners and to benchmark with peers. Fleet managers should be open to exchange experiences and discuss needs and expectations with industry experts and suppliers who can help them improve their strategy and make it future proof.

As mentioned in our Key Lessons, among the changes being considered in the region is the use of vehicle connectivity technologies to improve fleet productivity amidst changes in corporate fleet profiles which have been sidetracked by the health and economic impacts of today.

We need hard data such as exact mileage travelled, and many others. The key is combining this information with management expectations and the needs of your drivers, says Rodrigo Monroy who is sourcing manager for corporate services at Novartis.

Rodrigo Monroy (source: Fleet LatAm)

Yes, “one of the biggest opportunities for fleet managers today is to show real value by using data, adds Geotab electric vehicle (EV) solutions manager Megan Allen.

Other changes which could bring forth opportunities include the move to electrified vehicles (full-electric or hybrid) and using alternative mobility options that complete the puzzle of creating a more efficient fleet.

As for making the move to electric, one way to help you along the way is to make use of tools that support you in finding the right make and models and one that defines proper driver profiles to fit into your EV fleet plan, according to Geotab Senior EV Product Manager Hani Hawari.

“We have a tool which takes the deskwork out of acquiring an EV. Among other things, it calculates range requirements and financial returns, all while comparing overall performance against combustion engine models,” says Mr. Hani, explaining the company’s EVSA (Electric Vehicle Suitability Assessment) tool.

In Latin America, EVSA is available in Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. Expansion into other countries will be planned as the EV scenario grows throughout the region.

Besides consumer demand, the key drivers to electrification include more EV friendly regulations, policies and incentives, as well as improvements in charging infrastructure and battery technology.

In Latin America, the main challenges are weak infrastructure, assuring operational efficiency, and the high cost of vehicles, the latter being impacted by public policy such as high import taxes.

“The pandemic creates even more challenges but now is a real opportunity for us to look at how we are doing things. We need to focus on implementing new technologies to create a more productive and efficient future,” says head of Element Fleet Management in Mexico Manuel Tamayo.

Manuel Tamayo (source: Fleet LatAm)

To add to your fleet strategy, a third opportunity in the face of the new normal entails implementing alternative mobility strategies. To improve cost efficiency, some fleet managers are owning vehicles longer and increasing utilization through downsizing fleet or using some type of corporate car-share strategy, says Matt Stevens who is VP of EV and Connected Car Technology for Geotab.

Besides ride-hailing companies such as Uber, other useful alternatives which are environmentally friendly and quite efficient are micro-mobility options such as e-scooters, adds Arval Global Business Development Director Ricardo de Bolle.

Ricardo de Bolle (Fleet LatAm)

So, despite the challenges we face in the new normal, keep in mind that opportunities in connectivity, electrification and alternative mobility do still exist.  Remember to be patient and to be creative as we move into 2021.

All comments were made on the second day of the Fleet LatAm Conference 2020 on Wednesday (30 September). Hosted by Global Fleet & Fleet LatAm Chief Editor Steven Schoefs and Fleet LatAm Advisory Board Chairman Pascal Serres, the two-day event drew more than 450 participants, being fleet managers and decision makers stemming from more than 30 countries. 

Authored by: Daniel Bland